The Spot Expanding to other counties!

The Spot in Dekalb County! What a huge blessing to partner with great folks!

WJLE Report by Dewayne Page

“Choosing to Change” began locally six months ago modeled after “The SPOT” in Smith County, an outreach program of the Youth and Family Resource Network, a non-profit, faith-based organization.

The program operates under the direction of Justin Cantrell, Regional Overdose Prevention Specialist for the Upper Cumberland area and facilitator for SPOT Youth and Family Resources Network Center in Carthage and DeKalb County and Director Barbara Kannapel, who was instrumental in starting “The SPOT” in Smith County several years ago.

The goal is to help students from 6th to 12th grade, who have committed minor infractions at school, to make better life choices and build positive relationships with others.

“Choosing to Change” works with the Juvenile Court in DeKalb County and the students who participate must attend a series of classes over eight weeks.

“In our juvenile program with delinquent and unruly offenses we sometimes do an informal adjustment, sort of a diversion, if it’s the first time they have been in trouble or if its a really minor offense,” said General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Brandon Cox. “For example, if they are in court for truancy issues, being a runaway, for vaping etc. when they come to court the first time, they are given the option to attend this class for eight weeks and if they do then we will re-evaluate the case and see how it is going at that point, checking their grades, attendance, etc. We have already had probably 30 or so youth go through the program and we have seen a lot of success with it. Friday night a Christmas party was held to celebrate the kids in the program as well as Justin and Barbara,” added Judge Cox. (Also involved is YSO, Samantha Cox.

“We meet from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. every Tuesday at the courthouse and we (YFRN) are hoping to expand it by starting an afterschool program here,” said Cantrell. For More Information, contact Justin Cantrell at 931-854-5768 or

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